BUFA Announcements & Press Releases

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November 03, 2011
  • Letter of Support. Bonnie Huskins, Professional Officer, FAUST, St. Thomas University

    FAUST has just sent $1000 to BUFA as a sign of solidarity. We are very concerned by Brandon University's behaviour in encouraging individual faculty members and students to cross the picket lines. We are also worried about the employer's attack on collective bargaining, which is part of a larger pattern in labour relations which cannot be tolerated.

    In Solidarity

    Bonnie Huskins
    Professional Officer
    St. Thomas University
    Fredericton, NB
    E3B 5G3
    (506) 452-9667

  • Letter of Support. Jacqueline Holler, President, UNBCFA

    The Executive Committee of the University of Northern British Columbia Faculty Association (UNBCFA) also unanimously supports BUFA's strike action and has sent a cheque today for $1,000. We wish you success in working towards a fair settlement for your Members.

    Jacqueline Holler
    President, UNBCFA

  • Letter of Support. Doug Chivers, Chair, USFA

    To Joe Dolecki, President

    Brandon University Faculty Association (BUFA)

    Brother Dolecki:

    On behalf of the University of Saskatchewan Faculty Association (USFA), let me convey to you and the entire BUFA membership a message of support.

    We acknowledge the difficult decision to take job action and we applaud the courage of your members in voting in favour of such possible action and the courage in taking this step.

    The USFA continues to be concerned about deteriorating labour relations at Canadian workplaces. We recognize the battle that lies ahead for us and other faculty unions to achieve fair collective agreements with reasonable wage settlements. What you do, you do for all of us and we feel it is imperative that our union, and other faculty unions and associations across Canada, not only voice our support but show it. It is because of that view that the USFA Executive Committee passed a motion to donate $10,000 to the BUFA strike fund. Arrangements are underway for USFA representatives to travel to Brandon with the donation and to join you and our brothers and sisters on the picket line.

    We are copying this message to the CAUTGen Listserv to share the USFA perspective on the state of labour relations in Canada and emphasize with our sister organizations the need for tangible support of BUFA's struggle. It is through the support of each other that the reality of reasonable and appropriate bargaining settlements will be achieved.

    Know that we stand with you and your members in your efforts to reach a fair collective agreement.

    In Solidarity,

    Doug Chivers, Chair

November 02, 2011
  • Thank-you from BUFA.

    The executive, negotiating team and members of Brandon University Faculty Association would like to thank all students, parents and members of the general public that attended last evening’s open house question and answer session. We hope that that those in attendance found the meeting as useful and informative as we did. We are acutely aware of the stress that the current job action has caused and assure the community that the sole motivation in taking job action is to ensure the long-term viability of quality university programming based on the core educational concepts that are the cornerstones of Brandon University. BUFA remains committed to negotiating a collective  agreement at the table that will ensure a quality learning environment is available at Brandon University in the years to come.

    From BUFA

November 01, 2011
  • Brandon University Strike Mediation Timeline.

    Below is an excerpt from:

    First Session - Fortieth Legislature
    of the
    Legislative Assembly of Manitoba
    Official Report
    Vol. LXIV No. 9 - 1:30 p.m., Tuesday, November 1, 2011

    The entire report is available here.

    Brandon University Strike Mediation Timeline

    Mr. Reg Helwer (Brandon West): Mr. Speaker, while I appreciate the minister’s attempt to educate the House on labour law last week, the students at Brandon University continue to suffer through a strike that is now entering its fourth week. I am receiving calls and emails from students, parents, faculty and Brandon University board members. They are all frustrated by the lack of progress.

          Mr. Speaker, since mediation talks have now broken down, does this government have a plan? Can they tell us what it is?

    Hon. Jennifer Howard (Minister of Labour and Immigration): I want to thank the honourable member for that question.

          Of course, the strike at Brandon University–inconveniencing and frustrating for students. I know that students are very concerned about their future and their education. That’s why, when the strike commenced, conciliation began working with provincially appointed conciliator. After conciliation concluded there was a request for mediation. We moved immediately to appoint that mediator.

          I’m informed by the mediator that the mediator continues to meet with and talk to the parties. And actually, Mr. Speaker, it’s the mediator who decides when mediation is concluded, not the honourable member across the way.

    Mr. Helwer: Well, the mediation process was discussed from the faculty, Mr. Speaker.

          Students at Brandon University now, who have received scholarships and bursaries have to maintain a certain grade point and average in order to qualify for that support. Having missed three weeks of classes, it’s almost impossible for those students to maintain that average. They’ll have to take out student loans to repay those scholarships and have to live with that increased debt due to this government.

          For the sake of the students, will the minister ask the faculty to return to work during the next step of negotiations?

    Ms. Howard: What I don’t think is probably constructive to coming to a conclusion and coming to an agreement in this case is for us to speculate on hypotheticals.

          I believe that the university will be responsible, will exercise its responsibilities to the students, and everything will be done upon the conclusion of this strike to make sure that students can get the benefit of their education.

          Right now that dispute is in mediation. The mediator continues to meet with the parties, continues to look for a solution. I believe the most constructive things we can do as legislators for the students and for their future education is to allow that mediation process to continue without interference from us. Thank you.

    Mr. Helwer: Mr. Speaker, psychiatric nursing students enrolled in Brandon University finish their term in mid-November, two weeks from now. How likely are they to graduate if they cannot finish their term?

          How can this government stand up in this House and brag about their plans to hire nurses when one of their institutions may not even be able to graduate them? Is this the government–is this government now able to take the next step and offer binding arbitration, then ask the faculty, return to teaching?

    Ms. Howard: I think, as I responded last week to this question, both parties are aware that binding arbitration is an option. We’d be pleased to assist the parties in helping to find an arbitrator to engage in that process. I think arbitration can be a very helpful process in situations like this. Right now, mediation continues. I believe that’s the most constructive path, not to spread fear among the students.

          I will tell you, Mr. Speaker, I think, as the Minister of Health (Ms. Oswald) just outlined, our commitment to nurses is, when we commit to nurses we commit to paying them fully, not paying them halfway, the way the members across did in this past election.

  • An Open Letter to Brandon University Board of Governors from a BUFA Member. Dr. Wayne Bowman, Professor of Music and Music Education

    26 October 2011

    To: Members of the Brandon University Board of Governors

    Dear Board Members:

    Although I am currently on leave from Brandon University and teaching at New York University, I have received a copy of a letter addressed to you by Dr. Peter Rombough regarding the strike action currently underway at Brandon University. Like Dr. Rombough I was a member of the Presidential Search Committee of 2008. And like Dr. Rombough, I have devoted many years of my life (thirty years, to be precise) to this institution.

    My purpose in writing is to express my strong support for the concerns expressed by Dr. Rombough in his letter. As he has related, the strike of 2008 occurred precisely in the midst of a Presidential search. Among the most urgent concerns on the minds of search committee members were the restoration of collegial relations within the University and the creation of an environment conducive to cordial, respectful relations with faculty and BUFA. We believed we had chosen an individual especially well-suited to these tasks: one who would work conscientiously to minimize conflicts and to create the kind of environment in which the possibility of another strike would be exceedingly remote.

    Clearly we were wrong.

    I am deeply saddened to see the University needlessly divided. From what I can gather the differences between BU and BUFA are, if anything, more severe than they were in 2008. There is no doubt in my mind that this situation could have been averted and I am confident I express the view of the majority of the members of the 2008 search committee in saying that the last thing we expected to see in 2011 was another bitter strike.

    Since the ultimate responsibility for resolution of the current dispute lies with you, the members of the Board, I urge you to take the immediate steps necessary to end this strike and to restore the trust and respect so vital to the future of this University community.


    Dr. Wayne Bowman
    Professor of Music and Music Education

  • Brandon University Strike - A Student's Opinion. Phoenix R. Eastwood, Brandon University Student

    I have been reading a lot of comments about the Brandon University strike. There have been many that say that if the professors don’t like their jobs, quit or move out of province. My question is this: Given that they have put many years into education, self-sacrifice, and working as a professor, why shouldn’t they get paid better wages with better benefits? It doesn’t matter that they are professors, the same thing could be said about any professional career.

    There are those who say that their kids are the ones being punished. Let’s put this in a different but relevant light: If your child goes on to complete university, works hard his/her life at something they are passionate about for many years, what happens when their employer decides that they don’t deserve to earn more? Are you going to give them the same advice that you are giving to the professors now? The answer to that is most likely going to be a resounding no. You will tell your child to stand up and fight for what they believe in. You will tell them that they deserve everything and more because of what they have done in the past to get to where they are now.

    Yes, money has been lost during this strike. But, we cannot continually blame the professors. There are two sides to the negotiations. The administration also needs to be held accountable for what is going on.  The call for refunds on tuition for the fall term is an effort in futility. Do you really think that the university is going to give back this money when they refuse to increase salaries for their employees? They are looking at everything from a dollar value – students included. If we were anything more than a dollar sign to the university administration, they would be offering students a refund for lost tuition based on lost class time. It seems that they have forgotten that students are not rich people who can afford to just throw away money.

    The general public has had much to say about how things should be dealt with. However, instead of just writing it on a message board or local website, why not do something? Flipping the striking professors when driving by, telling them to quit their jobs, saying they should be fired and others hired, or, in one case, rioting, is not the answer. The students who are camping out at the university are doing something positive. They are making a stand in their own peaceful way. Some people think it is a waste of time but it isn’t. Some think that they are only doing this to garner attention which is true. They want people to know that there are actual people being ignored, being hurt by all of this. I fully support them for what they are doing. I cannot take part in the camp out as I have a family at home that I must take care of.

    Personally, I have been blessed with awesome professors. They are passionate about their work and do all they can to prepare for each class. They not only care about what we are learning in class but they also care about us as human beings. We are not just statistics to them. I support the professors of Brandon University for all that they have done and all that they are doing.

    That is all I have to say for now. Thank you!

    Phoenix R. Eastwood, Brandon University Student

    Brandon, MB

October 31, 2011
  • BU Mediation Breaks Down.

    Brandon University Faculty Association (BUFA) confirmed today that mediation talks between BUFA and the Employer broke down early this evening.

    BUFA presented two comprehensive proposals designed to resolve all outstanding issues in the current dispute; the Employer rejected both.

    “The final set of proposals we submitted met the salary parameters that the Employer established and even included a provision to have the third year scale increase arbitrated,” said Joe Dolecki, BUFA President and Chief Negotiator.

    “The Employer rejected this proposal as well.”

    Bill Paton, BUFA Secretary and member of the bargaining team, said, “We gave them the opportunity to have classes resume as soon as Wednesday, and they refused.”

    Provincially-appointed Mediator Michael Werier is returning to Winnipeg tonight.

    Meanwhile, the University of Saskatchewan Faculty Association confirmed earlier in the day that they will be sending representatives to BUFA Strike Headquarters with a $10 000 donation to the BUFA Strike Fund.

    For further information contact:
    Joe Dolecki, BUFA President and Chief Negotiator 727 9749
    Bill Paton, BUFA Secretary 727 1000

October 30, 2011
  • BUFA Invites Public to Q&A Session.

    The Brandon University Faculty Association (BUFA) is keenly aware that students, parents and other members of the Brandon community are extremely concerned about the on-going dispute between the administration of Brandon University and BUFA. Indeed, we also share these concerns.

    We also appreciate that the general public may be frustrated with the complex and often conflicting information about the key issues which have been raised in the media.

    In order to assist the public in gaining a clearer understanding of the issues involved, we would like to invite all interested parties to a Question & Answer Session with members of the BUFA executive and BUFA's bargaining team. This Q&A Session is scheduled for 7 pm on Tuesday, Nov. 1st at BUFA Strike headquarters at the Park Community Centre (1428 Louise Avenue).

    Coffee and light refreshments will be served.

    For further information contact:
    Todd Fugleberg, Member of BUFA Executive, 573-7268
    Mark Berry, BUFA Member, 306-380-1550

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